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Christchurch man David Holloway was making arrangements for his wedding to his South African sweetheart when he was killed on a British building site last week.
Mr Holloway, 35, became engaged to fiancee Nicky McCloy last July and the couple were planning to marry in South Africa this November.
But he died after being struck by a container at the building site where he was working in Colchester, Essex, last Wednesday.
Close friend Ferg MacClure said Mr Holloway met Ms McCloy about two years ago when he was in London.
"They originally met through work and got to know each other over a few drinks," he said.
"We were organising a stag do for the week before the wedding planned for November 15."
Mr MacClure, who visited Mr Holloway and Ms McCloy last August, described the friend he'd known for some 14 years as a "top bloke".
"We flatted together," he said. "He had a typical Kiwi personality - a heart of gold and as loyal as a pitbull.
"Dave would do anything for anyone and was as funny as hell. He was one of the funniest three people I've ever met."
Mr MacClure said he understood from talking to Mr Holloway's family that he was killed after being hit by a container.
"He was working about 20 meters beneath a container weighing about 1 tonne. I'm not sure if it fell on top of him or he just got clipped by it.
"By the time paramedics got there he was dead. They tried to revive him, but unfortunately they couldn't."
Mr Holloway's parents, Jim and Joy and sisters, Kate and Kiri, were in London for Mr Holloway's funeral. He was to be buried there, with a memorial service held when the family arrived home.
Mr MacClure said Mr Holloway, a former Cashmere High student, went to London about 2010 for his "typical OE".
"He decided he wanted to go and work in London. His grandmother was English and he had a working visa," he said.
Mr Holloway had a variety of jobs before moving to Colchester where he worked in construction.
Mr MacClure said Mr Holloway's death was a "huge shock".
"He was one of my best friends ... the sort of guy you'd expect to be having a beer with at 50.
"He was a straight shooter and spoke his mind. He was a fiery ginger (redhead) who loved his tattoos, his fast cars and his music," Mr MacClure said.
- Cullen Smith of the Christchurch Star